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Bubble letters in foreign alphabets

January 8, 2012

I type in Hebrew regularly enough for work, but I rarely write it out by hand now that I live in a place where only one other person can decipher any such text. I figured the alphabet (or aleph bet, rather) was simple enough to stick with me even without regular practice, unlike Japanese, which fades away even for many native speakers if they don’t write out characters by hand often enough and rely on word processors to remember the fuzzy details of complex kanji.

Like with so many things with Hebrew, I was wrong.

I attempted to make a birthday card in Hebrew for a special person named Shlomo using colorful bubble letters cut out of bright paper. In elementary and middle school, classmates constantly sought out my advanced bubble-letter-writing skills to decorate their notebooks and posters, and I’d amaze spectators with my lightning-fast writing abilities. This skill eventually followed to Japan, where I could do the same with hiragana and katakana. How hard could Hebrew be in comparison?

Hard.

I got through six letters — enough to write מזל טוב (mazal tov, congratulations) — and then had to switch to English rather than showcase a deformed ש (shin, the letter for an sh sound). I just couldn’t seem to get the three lines to look right, and bubble-ifying the letter only emphasized its ugliness.

Next year I’ll attempt this again, hopefully with better results. Sorry, Shlomo. Mazal tov, Shlomo birthday card

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